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Latitude: 53.2173 / 53°13'2"N
Longitude: -3.0333 / 3°1'59"W
OS Eastings: 331100
OS Northings: 369409
OS Grid: SJ311694
Mapcode National: GBR 74.17PJ
Mapcode Global: WH885.CDTF
Entry Name: Hawarden Bridge (also listed in Shotton rec no 84399)
Listing Date: 18 May 2005
Last Amended: 24 August 2005
Source ID: 85250
Location: Railway Bridge spanning the River Dee between Shotton and Sealand. A station for the Corus Steelworks is located at the N end of the bridge.
Locality: Garden City
Traditional County: Flintshire
A bow-string girder bridge built in 1887-89 by Francis Fox, engineer, for the Chester and Connah's Key Railway. It had a swing-span at the N end, which at the time was the longest ever constructed; this is marked 'Hydraulic swing' on the Ordnance Survey of 1899. The purpose was to link North Wales with the Wirral, and it was of strategic importance to the promoter, Sir Edward Watkin, Chairman of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway, as this region was dominated by other railway companies. Watkin advertised his new bridge by asking W E Gladstone and his wife to lower the first cylinder into the water; they returned to lead the official opening ceremony 2 years later. Soon afterwards the Shotton Steelworks was built adjacent to the N end of the bridge, originally John Summers & Sons. Now owned by Corus, the railway continues to bring steel over the bridge and into the works for finishing.
A 3-span bow-string girder bridge, with 2 fixed spans and a longer swing-span to the N, which stands on large cylindrical iron piers, faced in local brick. The swing-span is no longer operational, but opened about a central pier, which still has machinery including pulleys and chains to its top. It was operated hydraulically, the original small engine house no longer extant. It could open in 40 seconds to a width of 140 feet. The Bow-profile arches are of riveted I-section iron beams, with vertical and raked struts and some cross-pieces. The swing-span struts have pierced ovals, presumably to reduce the weight. Cross-beams link the heads of the arches. The bridge has a flat deck, the soffit with 4 further girders between the bow-string girders. It rests on substantial brick abutments with concrete copings, that to the N with a strengthening arch with several orders of mouldings. Large cylindrical piers beneath centre of swing-span and to its S end, the 2 fixed spans supported on twin piers divided by an arch. Long timber jetties project to E and W of the cylindrical piers, partly functioning as cut-waters and also to provide access and support to the swing mechanism. To the NW, in the water, is part of a curved gantry on iron piers, which may have supported the span when it opened. Adjoining the S end is a more traditional 7-span brick section, providing flood arches over the banks of the Dee. It has segmental brick arches and a string course to parapets with snecked stone coping, and is divided by a corbelled brick buttress. Walkways to each side of bridge, that to W with original plain metal railings. That on E side has been widened c2000 to form a cycle way.
Listed for its technical interest as a bow-string girder railway bridge, which had the longest ever hydraulic swing-span at the time of construction. The connection with W E Gladstone is of additional social-historical interest.
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